Flood protection, alleviation and rehabilitation measures

Temporary dam reinforcement (exercise). Picture: Dammverstärkung Alpenrhein, Andreas Götz PLANAT 2001

Der Sturm hat den Schutzwald zerstört, deshalb haben Forstarbeiter rasch einen Stützverbau aus Holz realisiert. Der Anbruch von Lawinen wird so in einem gewissen Mass reduziert. Picture: Provisorische Stützverbauung Curaglia, SLF 27.02.1990

A sand bag barrier can be used to prevent the further spreading of a flood. Certain places can be protected from flooding using sand bags or they can be used to reinforce other flood protection structures. Picture: Sand bag barrier in Interlaken, Mathias Zesiger, GIUB 24.08.2005

The fire brigade at work following the flood alarm in the Matte-Quartier neighbourhood of Bern on the evening of 8 August 2007. Picture: Einsatz nach dem Hochwasseralarm (Matte Bern), Christian Schuler BAFU 08.08.2007

The measures implemeted to provide protection against floods can be divided into three phases:


The preventive measures include, for example, the maintenance of water courses and protective structures and spatial planning measures. The establishment of an emergency plan is also preventive measure. The residual risk of flood damage should be achieved with the help of these measures.


During a flood event, the focus is on measures for the management the flood situation. These include the temporary protection of buildings and infrastructure (e.g. sandbag barriers), the commencement of clear-up work and the provision of emergency accommodation.


Measures for the rehabilitation of flood damage are required in the aftermath of a flood event. Living space for animals and humans must be made secure, important infrastructure must be restored and, if necessary, permanent structural protection measures must be implemented. The basis for the future assessment of hazard situations is provided in all cases by the detailed documentation of past hazard events.